Not you at Voices on the Square. You know who.
Well it seems this continuing debacle every 3 months has ceased, for now. However, I really can't get over this pathetic celebration over the really low bar involved with regard to avoiding what I call a political default on the public debt. This is the same embarrassing type of celebration that ensued in 2011. We need to get real. Despite the government being opened up again, there's nothing to celebrate. We've already lost. After all, the debt ceiling was a precious gift Obama bestowed onto John Boehner in the 2010 tax deal as he put his full faith in Speaker John Boehner hands, as he took the full faith and credit of the United States hostage.
Of course, it was a deal struck between both of them to put who they called the "extremists" of both their parties in check, for a grand bargain like in 1983 when Tip O'Neil and Ronald Reagan cut social security. President Obama and Speaker Boehner weren't fooling everyone, though. Just those involved in their hyper deluded, hyper partisan, claptrap. To some of us, this was entirely predictable and preventable. Now people are suffering because some people, blinded by their hyper-loyal partisan illusions, couldn't or didn't want to see what was there. Maybe their lack of sight reveals they don't really care? It doesn't matter though. This will continue to be what we go through when some of this crap continues again in 4 months in February, regardless.
This austerity government will reopen at sequester levels of funding; a sequester I predicted would be born out by the stupid Super Committee from the super austerity Budget Control Act of 2011, which I saw was inevitable since the 2010 tax deal led to the first, now ongoing, debt ceiling debacle; a miniature crisis to crisis government with no plans to invest in its citizens' future. Anything else is possible though, from government shutdowns over the false prospect of defunding Obamacare, to any austerian Senator or Congressman using the threat of default for whatever demands they want.
We, the so called professional left as the White House derisively called us, warned about this. Anyone who denied this can either apologize now or forever restrain from speaking about matters regarding politics, civics, political deals, and the debt ceiling. We told all of you back in 2011 around this same time when that debacle was coming to its end — until this one and the next one 4 months down the line — that this was no victory.
Regardless of what anyone thinks we might be winning or what we might have won in the midst of the debt ceiling debate, we have already lost. When the bar has been lowered so much where we are celebrating just the perceived idea that we might not default on the full faith and credit of the US when this was a run of the mill standard bearer issue and happened 7 times under the Bush administration, it really shows oh how the mighty Democratic party has fallen. How do I know?
Lost in the rush to frame the dramatic conclusion of Wednesday meetings was word of the actual substance of the talks. According to several attendees, negotiations stalled from the onset over the same issues that have proved irresolvable. Working off of talks that had been spearheaded by Vice President Joseph Biden, the president said he would be comfortable signing off on northward of $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending and mandatory spending cuts. With additional negotiations, he added, he could move that figure up to $1.7 trillion, and with a willingness to consider revenue increases and tax loophole closures, lawmakers could get to over $2 trillion. His preference, he said, was to continue to push for the biggest package possible, so long as it was balanced.
The biggest package of cuts during a jobs and demand crisis is apparently the good scenario of this debacle. Why? The president thinks we’re dumb enough to believe that balancing the budget is what gets the economy moving again under these conditions.
Hint: It doesn't under any conditions at all, at least for those that know something about economics and how deficits increase private wealth and put money into private pockets, 101. It’s not going to win Independents either.
This overall dynamic we are witnessing was easy to see once the horrible deal for the tax cuts was put into place but those that thought that was a brilliant maneuver forgot their history and none of them saw this coming. Deficits are a dangerous political tool as we can see, but especially if your party’s president buys the BS argument about deficits being dangerous at all in that a family’s budget is like the federal budget. That is the most egregious lie we are told every day by this president. It’s a lie that hurts families and hurts his base as well as the ability to grow it and garner acceptance and defend the New Deal to those who reject it out of ignorance. At least I hope it's a lie otherwise it doesn't speak very well of this president's understanding of these matters.
No one wins when the president won’t even make the case that creating jobs and spending is the best way to bring down the deficit and debt even though the way our whole system works since the fall of Bretton Woods it’s very unlikely that it happens or that it is even desirable since we are not on any kind of gold standard and reserve constraint. BUT Leaving that aside, this is a winning argument abandoned from the get go if we want to start educating the American people on how the federal budget really works and how reducing the deficit can be connected to jobs to start out while gaining their support for demand side policies we need, like the deficits we need.
The problem is and it’s a huge problem, once you adopt the rhetoric of the Republican Party or Third Way Neoliberal Democratic Party (not much difference here) you set the bar so low that besides getting this debt ceiling raise done like every other president has without a knock down drag out fight, you have already conceded defeat like our president has done or maybe he still thinks this is the 90s. Defeat in this scenario means no jobs, no real recovery with net jobs, and no real help for the working poor or middle class. Seniors who count on Medicare and SS will also be hurt if that part goes through as it was stupidly put on the table for no good reason.
We have abandoned Keynes and common sense and moved in with Milton Freidman while partaking in shock doctrine austerity binge drinking, but we’re told we won’t get drunk. We’ll just have a few drinks while we forget what we are supposed to stand for as Democrats.
So what the hell are we celebrating anyway?
We told you it would continue up to right here, right now, where it's still no victory. It is a failure. I don't celebrate failure. I don't respect those that do either. I don't delude myself into thinking we the people have won anything in this BS deficit terrorist game. Only the truly delusional think this is a victory. How lame. This would be known, maybe, as a pseudo Pyrrhic victory. And that's if I am being kind. However, this deficit terrorist game would have to be over for it to even equal that, but it's not. The austerity beatings will continue. The American people deserve better across the board.
Where are the calls from the President to repeal the sequester? Democratic Representative John Conyers still has a bill to do that. You see, that would be really standing up and owning up to the error of writing the sequester that is hurting people all for one part of a continuing Shock Doctrine grand deficit terrorist bargain. Unless the President is proud of it, he will admit it was a mistake. After all, some people might not survive it.
Giving John Boehner the debt ceiling to play with was similar to giving him a weapon to hurt people with. So on top of all that, don't you think seniors have been stepped on enough without being insulted? Obama's 2014 budget proposal insults them further as an offer in order to get out of the sequester his administration wrote. If the President is really sorry for doing his part to put people through this government that governs by crisis, as he recently claimed, he can start by taking this abomination off his site.
The President stands by the compromise offer he made to Speaker Boehner during “fiscal cliff” negotiations in December 2012. The Budget includes all of the proposals in that offer, which would achieve $1.8 trillion in additional deficit reduction over the next 10 years, bringing total deficit reduction to $4.3 trillion. This represents more than enough deficit reduction to replace the cuts required by the Joint Committee sequestration. By including this compromise proposal in the Budget, the President is demonstrating his willingness to make tough choices to find common ground to further reduce the deficit. This offer includes some difficult cuts that the President would not propose on their own, such as an adjustment to inflation indexing requested by Republicans. But there can be no sacred cows for either party. The key elements of the offer include:
$230 billion in savings from using a chained measure of inflation for cost-of-living adjustments throughout the Budget, with protections for the most vulnerable;
Only people who don't know anything about economics or sectoral financial balances celebrate politicians who brag about cutting over 4 trillion dollars to income and savings in the private sector. That's what deficit reduction with high unemployment and low demand pull inflation, like the debt deflation depression we are still in after the housing bust, amounts to. That's why I predicted, called out, and decried it for the stupidity it was in 2010, 2011, and now. I will in 4 months when we go through this again as well. Rather than admit these errors or maybe consult someone who actually understand these things, the White House is going to refer to seniors' standard of living that lifts them out of poverty and a major plank of the New Deal as a "sacred cow" to be bargained with; a sacred cow we can't have as Democrats, so they say.
By the way, this "Obama's chained CPI will protect the most vulnerable" nonsense is demonstrably crap, as I have shown over and over again. And where are the calls from Democrats in Congress or the White House to listen to the astute analysis of MMT economist Jamie Galbraith, Letsgetitdone, and BruceMcF, in order to make sure the debt ceiling is never used as a hostage again? There are none. The White House would rather listen to people they hired who caused the Great crash of 2008, and the Democrats in Congress won't collectively stand up to these grand betrayals.
That's why this "thank President Obama for taking a stand" garbage is garbage. Hostages have to be freed for a stand to be taken in this hostage negotiation. In reality, the debt ceiling is still a hostage, and it will be from now on. That is, unless this President and his treasury stops lying about the Fed and the law with regard to the high value platinum coin — this is still the best option IMO — as well as ignoring other options like no face value consol and premium bonds to use in its place as a way to defuse the threat.
If the President wanted the normal way of debt ceiling appropriations to continue, he never should have turned the debt ceiling into something to be negotiated with in the first place, and it still is. Sorry, that's only for people who know how to govern. We can't pretend we can just go back to that point once Pandora's deficit terrorist box is opened. You see, I don't celebrate Shock Doctrine governments or politicians in either party. That's going to be Obama's legacy; an unprecedented austerity disaster legacy that will continue miniature crisis to miniature crisis ending in austerity.
One can get mad at these factual statements, but these are most likely the same people who celebrated the 2010 tax cut deal that led to the first debt ceiling debacle in 2011 ending with the super austerity budget Control Act in 2011, to the fiscal cliff deal, to now, until we go through all of this again in a few months. People who made excuses and cheered for all of this have no credibility. None. I am tired of explaining and reexplaining this to people who cannot think logically and let their emotion cloud their judgement. This is especially true when real people that are forced to live outside of the bubble in DC need the same people who consider themselves the President's knights in shining armor to preserve some of their empathy — if it really exists — for normal people rather than a politician who has it made for life.
I am also tired of some people in positions of power enabling people like this; people who think their hurt feelings over whatever shattered illusions they have of this administration being pointed out are more important than facts. They're not. Grow up please. People that are forced to live outside the DC bubble with actual problems don't have the luxury to stop worrying and love the President. The grand austerity stop gaps and BCA budget birthed from predictable, avoidable, crisis to crisis, grand bargain deals put together by an austerity government, literally stripped resources from people who need them. For some, they are a matter of life or death. They didn't deserve this.
Why should they suffer so the deficit terrorist fantasies of the President, Republicans and Democrats alike, can live? They need to go away. And what's that? No concessions you say? You don't need to make concessions when continuing the norm means continuing a super austerity sequester budget, which will get worse as time drags on, from self made crisis to self made crisis.
Some are now saying that if anyone in the Republican party tries this again, so what? They say, "Then we'll win the mid terms and take back the House! Yay!" Not so fast, kemosabe. You and David Brooks haven't really thought this through. You really have to look into this, historically. That's something you obviously didn't do, which is partly why we're in this predicament in the first place.
If Mr. Brooks and others also think that the fanatics who have taken over the Fox-Republican-TEA Party are leading the GOP to suicide in future elections, I have to disagree. The GOP may show no understanding of the lessons of history in general, but they do remember their own history of the past thirty years. After the Iran-Contra Affair in which the Reagan administration secretly and illegally sold missiles to Iran, the Republicans still won the next presidential election in 1988. Even after Newt Gingrich (Khan) and his Republican hordes took control of the House of Representatives in 1995, shutdown the government in 1995-96, and then impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, they still maintained a majority in the House until 2007! Consequently, they are convinced that no matter how viciously and irresponsibly they perform, the voters are unlikely to hold them accountable – and I agree: anyone who voted for them before, will do it again.
And leaving that aside, even if we did win back the House, there would be no qualitative change. In 2008, we had the biggest Democratic majority in decades. Yet, over 400 progressive bills from the House ranging from multiple jobs bills to clean energy to climate change, died in the Senate because of the filibuster. And the same people that told me to celebrate anyway when Harry Reid sold us out again on filibuster reform, are now sending me petitions telling me to thank the President and to be happy that the mess the President started with Speaker Boehner and continued for 3 years jumping from crisis to crisis, is temporarily averted until we we go through this again in 4 months. I'm told this is "standing strong."
Wrong! Sorry. No dice. I guess I have some standards still. So essentially, we can support and advocate for real solutions to this debt ceiling debacle for good, or we can play make believe as if this is Obama and Harry Reid's heroic last stand. Yeah, as if now we'll now all live happily every after because of one game of chicken, out of many coming up on the horizon, kept us on the road. No.
Fairy tales are good for children; the morals and depth within help them develop and grow into intelligent adults as Einstein said. Political fairy tales, however, manipulate adults into supporting and excusing wars and austerity. Then people wind up dead.
This is no victory. Wake. Up.